The City of White Rock will continue to allow public access to the city’s pier, despite a busy Father’s Day Sunday that caused some residents to express concerns regarding the potential spread of COVID-19.
White Rock residents and visitors commented on social media Sunday and Monday about how busy the popular structure was on Father’s Day (June 21), with some people calling for the structure to be closed again.
The pier was re-opened to the public last week after being closed in late March.
“We drove down to go get ice cream this afternoon. We kept driving. The place was packed. Lines of cars, people everywhere and the pier was nuts!” Crystal Lothbrook commented below an image of the pier posted to Facebook by Peace Arch News.
However, not everyone agreed that the pier was overcrowded.
“One snapshot (especially at that angle) doesn’t tell the whole story. Most of the time the pier was not crowded, but it was Fathers Day and busier than normal at the beach. Doesn’t mean the pier needs to be closed again,” Jay Tee wrote on Facebook.
White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker told PAN Monday that the number of people on the pier was a concern, adding that he discussed it with city CAO Guillermo Ferrero Monday morning.
However, Walker, who has authority to close the pier at his discretion, said it would be a knee-jerk reaction to shut it down immediately.
“We want to work with the people, but we want to give them a chance. It looks like the province is starting to open up again. I understand we may get more information this week on what the next steps are either from a minister or perhaps even the premier,” Walker said.
Walker said the city will continue to monitor activity on the pier, in co-operation with its bylaw officers.
Historically, Canada Day is one of the busiest days of the year for the City of White Rock. This year, the city is hosting a “Virtual Canada Day by the Bay” celebration that will take place online. No physical events are planned for the waterfront.
However, a potential influx of crowds on July 1 remains on the city’s radar, Walker noted.
“The first of July is something we’re looking at. I won’t say forward to – but at – for some time, knowing full well what it’s going to be like,” Walker said.
One option that Walker said he’s not considering is closing the pier on certain days of the week, but leaving it open for the rest.
“You can’t just say we’re doing it Monday, Tuesday and then closing it Wednesday. That’s not going to work, that’s not going to fly. What you’re going to do is really start annoying people,” he said.
“We have a responsibility to be somewhat consistent with what we do.”